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Easy Italian literature


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When learning languages, I like improving my vocabulary by reading, which has helped me immeasurably with English.

Now that I'm learning Italian, I'd like to do the same thing, the problem being that my Italian is still not very good. Is there anything that the resident Italians or learners of the language can recommend that is comparatively easy to read?

I've already started reading the Harry Potter books (with mixed success) and a few readers specifically for learners (which were terrible and cringe-worthy).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I cannot recall anything in particular that I've been recommended, but I DO remember that you should avoid anything too old. Pre-1850s or so (I think), Italian wasn't very standardized. Even today, many people in Italy speak both a dialect and standardized Italian.

I can't remember how difficult it's supposed to be, but perhaps something like Pinocchio?

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  • 4 months later...

Try Italo Calvino's Marcovaldo. It's a children's bedtime story book (if I remember correctly!) and it was the first book I read in Italian. It introduced a lot of Italian vocabulary to me!

Also Niccolò Ammaniti-Io e Te. Short, quick read!

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  • 2 months later...

I cannot recall anything in particular that I've been recommended, but I DO remember that you should avoid anything too old. Pre-1850s or so (I think), Italian wasn't very standardized. Even today, many people in Italy speak both a dialect and standardized Italian.

I can't remember how difficult it's supposed to be, but perhaps something like Pinocchio?

I think I remember being told by an Italian friend that Pinocchio might be too difficult to start out with. I definitely agree with not reading anything too old. I've also been told to avoid several webcomics (at least at first) as they employ slang that isn't exactly valid and would get you some funny looks if you tried using it outside of a webcomic.

But as for what to actually read, I'm not really sure, sadly.

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  • 1 month later...

A suggestion is "Prima di dire addio" written by Giulia Beyman. Some say it is much easier than the classics "Pinocchio" and "Cuore". You may want to consider Silvia Avallone's contemporary novel, "Acciaio".

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  • 1 month later...

Most of the time if you have a good internet connection nowadays it is easier to go in forums about your favorite topics and start from there...

Talking about literature itself if you don't try to buy tailored books for learners Italian authors tend to be a little bit dense...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest TDolce

My daughter is a Harry Potter fan and has read the entire series several times. She knows the books so well that she chose to download the first book in Italian when she felt that her skills had reached the level to be challenged. It was a good choice. I also let her borrow several children's books which I had purchased on a trip to Italy. Choosing any book or stories with which you are familiar should be beneficial and help avoid the greater frustration of an unfamiliar book. Another possibility might be a classic novel, having both the Italian and English versions on hand. I have also seen books with both Italian and English printed on the same page, although I cannot remember where I saw the books. I haven't kept up with my study of the language to reach the point where I feel comfortable with reading books, but I am looking forward to getting to read some of the books which I already have.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know it's a slightly old topic, but I'd like to suggest everyone in the same situation as the original poster to try reading Il piccolo principe, which is The Little Prince in the Italian translation. Apart from the book being a masterpiece, its language is very clear and concise, while still being great quality prose.

It is the only book I could read easily in French, which is a language I know only at a basic level. I read it in Italian, English and Spanish, and every time I was amazed by how easy it was to read. It's probably as easy as learners language oriented books, yet it is a great read!

Don't go for books older than 30 years, language changes over time and you might find yourself learning obsolete words, like giuoco instead of gioco, or olezzo instead of profumo. I say thirty years because I was taught it is the maximum lifespan of a translation before it starts feeling outdated to the reader, and by extension the time it takes for language changes to be really noticeable.

Reading a translation is perfectly fine, especially with classic books. Most of them were translated by the very best translators.

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  • 1 year later...

speaking of books, I know that American books (older and public domain) can be obtained free through places like Project Guten. Is there a similar type place available for starter or at least books to attempt to read in Italian? I've honestly never looked, and if someone has suggestions that could save me search time I would appreciate it!

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